A Lament for the Philippines

[Prayer Spark: The news…]

God, for days, I’ve wanted to type this out. I wanted to ask you to help the people of the Philippines–to help?us?help them. But I’ve not had words. Only groans. You’ve heard those. But they’re harder to blog down.

I suppose it’s because I’m mad at you–the God of the Wind, the God of the Ocean, the God of the Land, the God of those people. You, the One who controls the waters and the wind and the storm. You, the One who could’ve stopped, re-directed, or lessened this. You, who could’ve spared lives, spared the devastation. You, the One who didn’t.

I have a hard time with this. With this characteristic of yours. Because I believe you are Sovereign. Because I believe this?is?your world. Because I believe you love us. It’s hard to understand how you can be at once present, at once at work in the world, and at once allow this sort of devastation. Time after time and again and again.

Of course, I know this is a broken world. I understand that weather was part of the Fall, that mass tragedy is part of the reality of sin in our world. And I know there’s a difference between?allowing?and?causing.?I get that. But I hate that.

Because it messes with my view of you–the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God. It messes with my idea that you can be known and understood. That somehow–somehow–your love for us will always shine through.

For the thousands in the Philippines walking around “like zombies,” for those who have seen loved ones washed away, who grieve and despair, you don’t seem all-powerful, you don’t seem all-knowing, and you don’t seem all-loving. You seem aloof, uncaring. Your love’s not shining through.

Or so I imagine.

But then I know, the great paradox or mystery or whatever it is of you: that even in the midst of horrors, you are there. We hear–and live–the stories, the testimonies that arise of your goodness, of sightings of you. And I know that you–in all this, in my anger, in my doubts–are still good. You are still loving, still near, still at work, no matter how I feel?or what I?think. Your truth is not dependent on my mood sways. Your truth and your goodness is not conditional, not dependent on weather. Thank God. Thank You.

So, here’s what I ask for, today and always: Be near. Be help. Let your love and goodness still somehow shine through the terrors. In the lives of those in the Philippines right now–and in the life of anyone else who needs it.

Amen.

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